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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:08 PM   #61
IThomas
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Bob Jones on Christchurch rebuild: turn CBD into a lake

With the passing of time, we have a better perspective on Christchurch’s CBD rebuilding prospects. The sheer scale is clearer, with some 85% – over 800 buildings covering a 40ha business area – destined for demolition. Last month, when I was shown through by the Christchurch Central Development Unit of Cera, it seemed about half had already been reduced to vacant lots. But familiar now with the impact of the earthquakes, I felt no nostalgia; instead, I felt optimistic that something better could arise.

I recalled the last time I was in Christchurch, as guest speaker – ironically, at the request of its engineers – for the opening of the huge Inland Revenue building. (To its owner’s delight, it’s now destined for demolition.) It was a Friday night and I strolled the streets, shocked at the empty shops and absence of 5.00pm traffic. This was pre-earthquake, a central city with its life wheezing from it. In that sense the earthquake has been a deliverance.

Cities have many components – libraries, art galleries, council offices, theatres, halls and other public facilities. These comprise the indulgent element, paid for from the public purse. But they cannot exist in isolation and alone constitute a city. Rather, they emanate from the steady organic growth of a city centre’s commercial activities in the form of shops and offices. Christchurch’s retail heart was clearly in trouble, with empty shops abounding, while the remainder lived off office workers, who are now gone. The emergence of large suburban shopping centres killed off the CBD as a retail location, as has occurred in many cities throughout the Western world. New Zealand examples include Lower Hutt and, increasingly, Hamilton.

It would be possible to build a smaller Christchurch CBD with high-rise office buildings to support a smaller retail base if the office buildings were confined to a tight area. That is physically possible, but it is not financially feasible for several reasons. First, because these buildings would be new, I estimate they would require rentals at least four times those pre-earthquake.

For tenants from Christchurch’s older buildings, which is most of them, the new rentals could be 10 times as high, which would plainly be untenable. Because of the earthquake factor, engineering costs aligned with Wellington code standards would be significantly greater than before, as would insurance – assuming one could find an insurer prepared to take on the risk, for currently none will – and on top of that would be a signifi cant investment-risk premium. At such rates, tenants would not be forthcoming and therefore nor would developers.

Additionally, the investors who would be needed to take the end product off the developers would shy away, and without such pre-commitment banks will not fund their construction. Pre-earthquake Christchurch was deemed a poor office-building investment location by major professional investors, as for sound reasons its office market lacked the potential for rental growth and therefore capital growth. Thus the city’s buildings were almost entirely owned by local hobby ists and sentimentalists, as is the case with most of our provincial cities in which commercial rentals have faded to a fraction of what they would be if they bore any sensible relationship to replacement costs.

Already some developers have issued plans for theoretical new constructions, but all with the proviso of first obtaining tenants. Even if they achieve that, they will face fresh problems in being unable to obtain bank finance, insurance and an end investor. Aside from that, these developers are freaks. For most CBD building owners, the devastation has proven a windfall. They have taken their insurance money and sensibly reinvested it in Auckland and Australia, as real-estate agents will readily confirm. Who can blame them?

Furthermore, if the anecdotal evidence is accepted, most have received payouts based on replacement costs, which have been far in excess of their now-demolished buildings’ former market value. Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee expressed concern at this capital flight in mid-April, but the owners are simply acting rationally. The rebuilding of Europe’s bomb destroyed cities after World War II took two decades, but even then it was only possible because those cities had sizeable populations, which meant an instant market for new offices and shops. That is not the case in Christchurch, aside from the financing and insuring difficulties.

Beirut provides a recent example. Its CBD rebuilding after the civil war offers a potential physical model for Christchurch. Entirely pedestrianised, with attractive sixto eight-level mixed residential and office buildings and street-level shops, cafes, gardens and fountains, Beirut’s new centre is a delight. But – and unfortunately there is a but – it was substantially funded by a successful sentimental appeal to the global Lebanese diaspora, motivated less by immediate financial considerations.

Additionally, with no earthquake factor and cheap Syrian and Muslim Lebanese labour, construction costs were a fraction of Christchurch’s. Plus, urban Lebanese are habitual apartment dwellers, which is not the case in Christchurch. Harvard professor Ed Glaeser, in his acclaimed 2010 book Triumph of the City, made the valid point that the construction of great cities has nearly always been a consequence of authoritarian governments.

The recent building from scratch in a decade of Kazakhstan’s striking new capital, Astana – now with a population twice that of Christchurch – epitomises this, its existence arising solely through the irrational whim of its all-powerful president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Economics played no role in Astana’s construction, for if it had, the city could never have been built. For example, public servants were lured north from the delightful old capital, Almaty, by the temptation of luxury apartments at minuscule rentals – an attractive proposition after their Soviet-era horror apartments. As that is not the New Zealand way, a new approach is required for Christchurch.

Christchurch has always justifiably boasted of being our garden city. One strategy could be to build on this desirable feature and abandon thoughts of resurrecting its CBD. It could follow the model of many Christchurch-sized American cities with insignificant CBDs and instead comprise suburbs, each with its own pedestrianised commercial centre of low-rise, low-cost walk-up offices with shops below, in garden settings, much like the delightful Havelock North. If Christchurch were to restructure itself this way, which is both practical and financially feasible, it would require an army of gardeners, not builders, to transform it into a different but hugely admired and desirable garden city.

The best thing about this approach is that such buildings, while still attractive, are comparatively cheap to build and so could be offered at acceptable rentals. Even better, they could be built quickly and, because of their small size, would enjoy a ready hobbyist end-purchaser investor take-up. Another consideration overlooked by politicians and the public is that investors are not developers – and nor do they wish to be. Development is fraught with difficulties, which is why ultimately all property developers go broke. Property developers are free-spirited adventurers with other people’s money. Professional property investors, on the other hand, tend to be highly conservative and risk-averse, and to expect them to take their windfall insurance money and adopt a complete personality change is simply naive. However, the simplicity of two-level walk-ups would eliminate many concerns.

If my garden approach were adopted, major surviving buildings, such as the Art Gallery and others, would no longer sit in a streetscape but instead in isolation in a garden setting – an arguably more appealing scenario. The planners should certainly abandon the ridiculous Noddyland Terrace offices proposal put before the public, plainly designed by people with no awareness of contemporary office demands for space and light. Brownlee was totally correct last year in describing most of the destroyed building stock as “old dungers”, and this proposal simply offers new dungers. The pre-earthquake Christchurch CBD, with its numerous redundant buildings and vacant shops, is gone forever. The planners have a blank sheet and should think afresh about the opportunity this presents. But there’s an even more exciting and workable approach that I would advance.

Readers will be familiar with the world’s 10 best cities rankings, which periodically pop up. Late last year, a European-sourced list came out that understandably was embraced in the capital as, surprisingly, it had Wellington in second place. Interestingly, the list also included three Swiss cities that, perhaps Geneva aside, don’t usually make such lists. I sought the common denominators of the selections, then searched my memory of previous lists, which invariably included Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong and the like. I realised they shared a common feature: they were all sited around lakes or harbours. The exception on that latest list was Frankfurt. But aside from its garden suburbs, soaring city towers and a pedestrianised CBD, it straddles a large river, sufficiently slow-moving to allow yachting and other water activities; a de facto lake, in fact.

Over 85% of Christchurch’s CBD buildings are destined for demolition, and a recent report says this may be an underestimation. The city centre is irrevocably gone. But imagine if the Government were to use its powers and seize all CBD sites. Most are valueless, anyway. Even if insanely of a mind to rebuild through an altruistic sentiment, the owners can hardly do so in isolation and expect tenants to occupy a building standing alone.

Here’s the answer. Create a massive irregular-shaped lake with bays and inlets on the destroyed CBD land. Each former CBD site owner could then be allocated a lakeside site, its size reflecting the former rating value. Along the lake edge could be sandy beaches with rafts anchored offshore to swim to. Elsewhere, perhaps, could be deeper coves with fixed diving boards and waterslides. Some mid-lake fountain jets would add to the ambience, as could a lakeside concert soundshell, as in Napier, and a jutting- into-the-water band rotunda. Motor boats would be banned, but rowboats, sculling and yachts would be welcomed. The naming of bays would add to the interest; Hadlee Inlet, for example.

In parts, the lake could be quite deep to ensure its health, and possibly the Avon could be diverted to it, emerging elsewhere. The bottom could be lined with river boulders, widely available in Canterbury, and the lake filled with cockabillies and other trout food – then trout in due course. Resident white swans could be introduced, then other marine bird life would soon make their home there, particularly if a section was left shallow and planted with reeds. Around the lake’s irregular circumference, set back 70m or so from the lake-edge, there could be a four-lane, both-directions highway, broken by periodic roundabouts, to allow motorists to change direction. A lawn all the way around the lakefront could be established, and the council would keep some spaces as permanent treed picnic and bathing parks.

The allocated site owners could build lakeside apartments, office blocks and possibly retail facilities. They won’t, mind you, for the reason I expanded on above, but they could sell the sites to developers who will. The huge advantage in this scheme is that a developer could build, say, a sixstorey apartment block, which would work as it could stand in isolation, its salient feature being its lakefront view. That is not the case when building in isolation in the ruined CBD.

There would still be the problem of unpayable rentals for new office buildings. But I suspect the prospect of sparkling lake views, with yachts, fountains, swans, scullers, etc, would, in the case of the more prosperous professional firms, see them accept the higher rates. If accountants, lawyers et al can pay them in Auckland and Wellington, they can pay them in Christchurch, too. The cathedral, previously the city’s best-known landmark, could be rebuilt centre-lake, with a flower-gardened-edged access causeway. Designed in a spectacular modern style, and lit up at night, it could reclaim its former status as the city’s principal architectural and tourist landmark.

Many people will be familiar with Canberra, a city with an identical population to Christchurch. They will know its prime feature is Lake Burley Griffin, named after the city’s Chicago designers. What they may not know, however, is that the lake was not constructed until 1963, 40 years after Canberra was built. It was filled by damming a river, which I’m not suggesting for the Avon. There are lots of other options to achieve that.

The council could maintain the lawns and the spur of rates on sites left undeveloped would hasten rebuilding. The sites would have considerable value, but doubtless would also attract the affluent seeking to build large homes. The reclaimed land spoil could be used, perhaps at one end of the lake, to create a sloping hillside, providing enhanced views to appeal to home builders. Alternatively, it could be forested.

A lakeside Christchurch would be a very different but immensely more appealing city than the one it replaced. Such a proposition is perfectly practical. There are companies, such as Chile’s Crystal Lagoons, that specialise in lake construction. More particularly, Cantabrians have form here, as evidenced by the Clearwater development north of Christchurch. Its two artificial lakes are clean and people swim in them and flyfish for trout. If neither option is embraced, our second city will comprise suburbs around a permanent large central bomb site. Invariably, it will soon become our third then fourth-largest city, in perpetual decline.

A concern constantly expressed to me in Christchurch was the flight by young people to Auckland and Australia, and frankly, who can blame them. One final thought: to get some action, the Government may need to underwrite the understandable reluctance of building financiers and insurers. There’s no need to actually fork out; rather, the Government could allow the insurers and banks to do their job by offering a future earthquake damage guarantee. I suspect most taxpayers would accept that. After all, this is not Westport we’re talking about, but a much-loved city.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:13 PM   #62
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^
I hope this doesn't happen to ChCh, Milton Keynes in the UK did something like this in the 1960's.I went through Milton Keynes last year and its the butt of UK town jokes.Look at all the top/best cities around the world Vancouver Auckland and New York all have a central point for people to work,party and celebrate so it attracts young professionals.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 04:30 AM   #63
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"Christchurch rebuild designer announced"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/new...gner-announced
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Old May 10th, 2012, 11:28 AM   #64
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yes, the idea on paper sounds quite cool and funky... but still doesn't really offer much practicality and yes, Milton Keynes (cough)...
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Old May 10th, 2012, 10:39 PM   #65
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Poor Westport...

Lake idea does seem cool but I think that article is quite flawed...

You cant compare Christchurch to the US cities he mentions because Christchurch is far more important on a national and even international level. For the most part they don't get nearly the same amount of tourists coming through and don't have the business output that we have.

Zurich (and Geneva) IS regualary voted amongst the best cities to live in. The reason the others aren't is because they don't have the population to make the list. Wellington is only considered because it's the capital.

And the cities that are "all sited around lakes or harbours". Duh, most cities round the world are. Christchurch could be the same except we don't embrace our coastline. Bowl horrible New Brighton and build apartments and a decent shooping strip there too. The pier is awesome.

My two cents. Totally agree with zilvia.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 12:13 AM   #66
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Regardless of whether the lake idea has any merit if its an idea floated by Bob Jones I become very suspicious.

The guy is an anachronistic throw back which no tact, decency or concern for anyone other than himself.

He doesnt give a shit about Christchurch, never has, all I see this is him trying to raise his profile.

Wow a man made lake, lets become the next Canberra. :shudders:
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Old May 11th, 2012, 02:08 AM   #67
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"New Unit for Central Christchurch Rebuild"

http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opi...ice-in-rebuild
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Old May 14th, 2012, 06:22 AM   #68
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Some GREAT news re the former Government Life building, as per The Press today.

The former Government Life building in Christchurch's Cathedral Square will be demolished.

It is one of 50 buildings on the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's latest demolition list, which includes three heritage houses, the Waterside Apartments in Ferrymead, Queen Elizabeth II Stadium and partial demolition of the former civic building in Tuam St.

The Government Life building, built in the 1960s, had in the past attracted criticism for looking out of place in Cathedral Square.

An entry in the Encyclopedia of New Zealand described it as Christchurch''s first example of a ''modernist glass box''.

The building was largely empty at the time of the February 2011 earthquake.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 08:32 AM   #69
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There were a few proposals for new apartments out in Sumner and New Brighton some 10 storeys high but all never got development approval. As there is such a strong anti-highrise group throughout the city they all petition the council for them to be stopped and always win except for the Ferrymead one.
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 10:55 PM   #70
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Quake zone also growth zone

Canterbury has outpaced Auckland to gain the top spot in year-on-year growth, as the city's rebuild kicks into action, according to the National Bank's regional trends survey for the March quarter. Growth was stronger across all 10 of New Zealand's 14 regions, led by Canterbury, up 2.8 per cent, followed by a 2.7 per cent rise in Auckland. Overall, the survey showed a nationwide economic activity lift of 1.6 per cent year-on-year to March 31. That is up 50 per cent on the year-on-year growth rate to December 31. "Canterbury continues to recover from last year's devastating earthquakes," said Steven Edwards from the economics division at National Bank of New Zealand. "Four solid quarterly increases in economic activity have propelled Canterbury to the top of the year-on-year economic growth rankings."

Canterbury experienced at 4.7 per cent increase in employment in the March quarter, while the number of residential building consents rose 34 per cent, according to data from Statistics New Zealand. The ANZ's regional job advertisements series for the region hit a record high, up 24 per cent in the December quarter. Growth was greatest in the South Island, increasing 2.1 per cent, compared with 1.5 per cent in the North. Wellington was the worst performer, recording a 0.2 per cent decrease in year-on-year growth. Employment in the capital city fell 0.7 per cent in the March quarter. ANZ's composite measure of internet and newspaper job advertising also fell to a historic low in February. Nationwide economic growth increased 0.7 per cent in the March quarter against the December quarter.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 03:35 AM   #71
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EPIC - Manchester Street (old Para Site)

I'm going to enjoy watching this one take shape. Looks like a good design and is the first new build in what used to be a funky vibrant area.









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Old June 15th, 2012, 03:51 PM   #72
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Government allows Christchurch zoning decision appeals


The government has decided to hear appeals by quake-hit Christchurch homeowners unhappy with their land zoning decision. In Christchurch today, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee announced the introduction of a review process for those insured residential property owners who wish to query their land zoning. Flat land property owners wishing to query their zoning have until June 30 to making an application for review to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), Mr Brownlee said. A similar review structure will be implemented for Port Hills residents following their zoning process, which is due for completion by the end of the month. Zoning of flat land in greater Christchurch began in June last year and was completed last month. Over that period 7253 properties were zoned red as unsuitable for residential occupation due to significant earthquake damage. A further 180,000 properties were zoned green as suitable for residential occupation, some with conditions. Some 550 people have contacted CERA over the past year to request a review of their zone status. The majority are in the green zone and wish to be zoned red, while 80 red zoned property owners are seeking re-designation to the green zone.

Mr Brownlee said: "To robustly assess the requests an advisory group has been established comprising three CERA officials with expertise in public policy, law and geotechnical engineering. "In addition an independent member, Dr Keith Turner, has also been appointed." Dr Turner is presently chairman of NZX-listed Fisher & Paykel Appliances and is a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand.
The advisory group's role will be to assess if zoning changes are appropriate. They will consider a variety of scenarios, including if the original zoning is inconsistent with the Cabinet classifications or there are boundary anomalies. The deadline for the advisory group to complete their review and report back to applicants is July 30, 2012. Meanwhile, Brownlee announced an extension of the residential red zone to include 17 that were being built when the magnitude-6.3 quake hit on February 22, last year. He said the move would help the property owners move on "following the hardship caused by the earthquakes". Seven non-residential properties owned by not-for-profit organisations in the residential red zone are also covered by the extension.

The Government also said a land zoning milestone has now been reached, with the 5000th property owner signing a sale and purchase agreement with the Crown. It means that 70 per cent of those in the residential red zone have chosen an offer. "Our first land zoning decisions were made on 23 June last year, and the first offers were sent to red zoned residents in August," Brownlee said. "I'm very pleased so many families in suburbs deemed unsuitable for residential occupation because of earthquake damage are swiftly moving on with their lives to a positive future."
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Old June 15th, 2012, 10:00 PM   #73
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We need people like this: http://www.ch9.co.nz/content/scaffol...rance-building
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 04:45 AM   #74
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Transitional city projects bring life back to Central City

Work has begun installing a range of transitional city projects within Christchurch’s Central City which will bring new life and people back to the heart of the city. “These low-cost, temporary projects are part of the Council’s commitment to help support business and people back into the Central City by improving the environment, pedestrian safety and creating interest in the area,” says Mayor Bob Parker. Eels and raupo are being painted on Oxford Terrace, near Re:Start, as part of a temporary streetscape upgrade to this area; an art installation and outdoor exhibition are being installed in Worcester Boulevard; the streetscape along Colombo Street, from Tuam Street to South City, is being improved with planters and vibrant splashes of colour; and pedestrian access on the Durham Street bridge is being upgraded.

“The Central City has been constantly changing with the demolition of buildings, reduction of the cordon and businesses beginning to move back to the fringes of the cordon. “This transitional stage is important for the Council to explore new ideas and concepts to help with the recovery of the area and enable residents to reconnect with the heart of their city as we start to transition into the restoration/reconstruction phase. “The projects will last a few months or a few years depending on the nature of the project and how quickly new areas of the Central City are re-opened.” Along Oxford Terrace, in the area known at The Terrace before the earthquakes, visual artist of Ngāi Tahu, Ngaphui and Ngati Kahu descent, Priscilla Cowie is creating an artwork that captures the essence of the city’s aspirations to celebrate the Avon River/Ōtakaro’s rich cultural heritage and the natural environment.

“Images of raupo, flax and eels are being painted across the footpath and roadway to extend the riverbank and create a seamless environment. This introduces the concept of a shared space for pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic.” Mr Parker says brightly coloured seating from the former Bus Exchange Transit Lounge is being placed along this stretch of Oxford Terrace encouraging people to stop for a while, to contemplate and enjoy the new environment. Across the river on Durham Street (by the Bridge of Remembrance), pedestrian access is being improved with a new footpath on the eastern side of the bridge and planting used to separate pedestrians from the traffic. “This will help with pedestrian access to Re:Start and businesses operating in the area.

“Down Colombo Street, from Tuam Street to South City, the footpaths have been repaired, build-outs placed at the intersections and new planters installed providing a burst of bright colour in the street.” He says the streetscape improvements create a better environment for people to visit and reconnect with the Central City, as well as improving pedestrian safety. “What we are doing is testing new ideas and concepts, in line with what the community asked for as part of developing the Draft Central City Plan. And we again want your feedback so we can improve on what we have done for other areas of the Central City as these open up.”
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 04:47 AM   #75
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Greater Chch Urban Development Strategy Newsletter
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Old June 26th, 2012, 04:52 AM   #76
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Christchurch businesses get set for rebuild

Encouraging signs are emerging that commercial businesses in Christchurch are getting ready to kick off major building projects, says the City Council. Resource consent has been granted to $80 million worth of commercial building projects in the past 13 weeks, according to Christchurch City Council (CCC) records. In the last week of March this year, $9.1 million worth of commercial projects with a value over $1 million were granted building consents. By the end of last week this had increased to a total of $89.1 million. The figures showed confidence in the rebuild from the business sector, said Ethan Stetson, CCC building operations manager. "This is a very encouraging trend in a short space of time. "There is no doubt that the rebuild is providing us with some challenges, but there also seems to be a determination in the commercial sector to get the rebuild going." The figures cover the value of 32 projects and include repairs, new builds, and existing customers being granted further building consents for the next stage in their project. Nine of the projects are within the "Four Avenues" of the city. Mayor Bob Parker there was a growing sense of faith in the rebuild.

"The commercial sector appears to be moving into a position where the rebuild can get underway. "There are a number of businesses who clearly want to start up, or stay in Christchurch, and they are doing something about it." Stetson said the Council's aim was to issue building consents in 20 days or less. In July 2010, 87 per cent of building consents were issued in 20 days or less. This was up to 97 per cent in May this year. To meet those targets, the Council needed applicants to provide complete and accurate details from the start, Stetson said. Steve McCarthy, resource consents and building policy manager, advised applicants for major commercial projects to attend a pre-application meeting to find out if they needed a resource consent. "My advice is spend a few hours with us early in your project. Not only will it help get your business moving it will help us end up with the city we want as a part of the overall rebuild."
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 12:16 AM   #77
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Dense housing 'would let residents stay east'

Red-zoned east Christchurch residents who want to stay put could be rehoused on remediated land the size of Riccarton Racecourse if they abandoned the "Kiwi quarter acre dream", a geologist says. A Nielsen survey of nearly 3000 eastern red-zoned households in October found about a quarter who had not already relocated wanted to stay in the east. Their top priorities were solid land, familiarity with the area and living close to family and friends. Most also wanted to live in a three to four-bedroom home that cost $300,000 to $400,000. Dr Mark Quigley, senior lecturer in active tectonics at the University of Canterbury, said this was possible – without remediating the entire eastern red zone.

Quigley outlined his vision of a "hazard-resilient city" to a New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects conference on Friday. Dense population "housing blocks" could be created on small areas of remediated and elevated land in the east, on sites such as Rawhiti Domain, he said. He suggested housing that allowed one person per 50 square metres rather than the pre-quake east Christchurch norm of one person per 225sqm. Through some "crude number crunching", Quigley estimated only five to 10 per cent of the red zone would need to be remediated to house all red and "blue-green" residents who wished to stay.

This was equivalent to the size of one or two 18-hole golf courses or "an area the size of Riccarton Racecourse". Quigley said of those surveyed by Nielsen, only 1 per cent said they wanted a good-sized section. "After all they had been through, they didn't care about the size of their yard. They wanted ground that wasn't subject to liquefaction." Rather than creating ghettos, tsunami evacuation routes, easy access to the city and amenities nearby would "add value" to the housing blocks, he said. Quigley conceded his idea was "more complicated" but in the long term would decrease residents' vulnerability to natural disasters and increase property values, energy efficiency, scenic beauty and quality of life.
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Old July 3rd, 2012, 02:50 AM   #78
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Old July 4th, 2012, 02:55 AM   #79
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Chch sections rezoned for housing

More than 10,000 sections in Christchurch have been rezoned for housing and another 7445 should be ready to be built on by the end of 2014. Authorities have been rushing to free up land for new houses for people displaced by the earthquakes and have built up a sizeable land bank, says a report prepared for the Christchurch City Council by its chief executive, Tony Marryatt. They have been helped by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's decision to redraw the boundaries where new Christchurch housing should go - a decision being challenged in the High Court by a group of disgruntled property developers.

The developers are seeking a judicial review of Cera's 2011 land-use ruling - which effectively identified nearly 22,5000 sections in Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Selwyn as ripe for housing development - and want the new boundaries overturned because they claim Cera and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee abused "draconian" powers the law says can be used only for earthquake recovery. The council has rezoned sufficient land without the new boundaries to provide for up to 10,390 sections, most of them in the Wigram-Halswell and Belfast-Lower Styx areas.

It is also working with landowners on the rezoning of six other large blocks of land that could potentially free up another 7445 sections in the city. "There are also land holdings with a potential capacity of 4600 sections for which no plan-change process has been initiated," Marryatt said. In some instances it was because of landowner preference, while for others there might be market concerns regarding land oversupply, he said. "From a market perspective, there is a clear risk of oversupply, particularly if demand is uncertain and the holding costs associated with land development and local infrastructure are expensive."

He said the council had a process to monitor supply and availability of land and to make it easier to find out where there was available land for housing through a new interactive webpage. The webpage would not only make it easy for the public to identify subdivisions where sections were available and subdivision consent had been granted, but also allow developers to update the information, he said.
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Old July 4th, 2012, 06:52 AM   #80
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I see the entire block of facades on High St, starting from the old MacKenzie & Willis building and going east, has been propped up. As has the facade of the Excelsior Hotel. I heard Brownlee on a press junket bus dismissed the efforts to save the facades and sneered at the people behind the effort. (Brownlee the Bulldozer and his "old dungers" - we ended up with precisely the wrong person in charge of all this.) Has anyone here heard of who is behind the High Street effort and whether they stand a fighting chance?
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